Bing Crosby

The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings 1954-56

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Aficionados of Bing Crosby's '50s recordings have often looked in vain for more material along the same lines. Crosby's artistic highlights of the era, outings like 1956's Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings and 1957's Bing with a Beat, simply let him exercise his interpretive chops with arrangements that were as loose and seemingly unstudied as his singing. The reissue label Mosaic has consistently made the dreams of vocal and jazz fans come true for years, so the release of The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings 1954-56 is only a half-surprise. Recorded by Crosby for use on a short radio show (it was one of his last regular appearances on a medium that was quickly losing the race to television), these 160 sides usually feature only a small quartet led by keyboard player Buddy Cole. These are small but valuable trifles; Crosby excelled in this setting, and despite his fears about a weakening voice, he sounds fine. Granted, there are few surprises here, especially with the material. These are, in the main, standards of the past, many of them songs from the '20s and '30s that Crosby surely knew by heart (even if he hadn't sung all of them before in front of a microphone). Recorded at the same time as his career retrospective A Musical Autobiography, this functions as the flip side of that release, including very few songs he was associated with, but allowing him to use the lessons he'd learned over 30 years of professional performance.

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